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Sergeant George MacIsaac Jr.

F Company, 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment

Sgt. George MacIsaac Jr. grew up in the centuries-old town of Woburn, MA. One of the original colonial settlements, Woburn became a pillar of Massachusetts over its over 200-years of existence. It sent many of her sons to battle and of them, many returned in a humble coffin. One of them was MacIsaac.

MacIsaac enlisted into the army on August 14th, 1950, joining F Company, 8th Cavalry Regiment in early April of 1951, one of the much-needed replacements the 1st Cavalry Division received. On April 22nd, the Chinese Spring Offensive of 1951 kicked off with 350,000 Chinese soldiers engaging the UN front line. The entire division was moved into a defensive, Line Golden, just north of Seoul on April 28th. MacIsaac marched up the Korean Peninsula with the rest of the regiment, moving from phase line to phase line, constantly pursuing the Chinese into North Korea. On August 18th, 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment was tasked with taking Hill 272, a Chinese stronghold north of Line Wyoming. Sgt. MacIsaac led his men up the slopes under intense rifle and machinegun fire, ascending and descending twice. On the third assault, the hill was taken.

Click on a photo in this slideshow for a closer look or click on the arrows at the edges of the slideshow to look through the photos.

Sgt. MacIsaac's final taste of combat was in the little-remembered combat fought in Operation Commando. Operation Commando was an American-planned limited offensive to try and alleviate some of the combat being fought at Bloody Ridge and The Punch Bowl further east. This offensive also came with the acute need to prevent a huge Communist supply buildup, which could have resulted in another large-scale offensive against the UN forces. Line Jamestown, the UN designation for the Chinese front line, was the designated target, running from the Imjin River to a bit west of Chorwon. 

The Chinese were well dug in, with huge amounts of supply and men available to hold out with. The attack began at 6 AM, October 3rd with the 8th Cavalry in reserve along Line Wyoming. The 5th Cavalry Regiment took the left flank and the 7th Cavalry Regiment the right flank as they advanced. The Chinese had erected huge, sprawling bunkers covered in as much as 15 feet of logs and earthworks with trench networks stringing them together on each of the mountainsides. On October 5th, the 8th Cavalry Regiment moved up to the right flank, securing Hill 418. 

Four days later, with the Chinese beginning to crack, Sgt. MacIsaac was killed in action. While moving up a slope in the vicinity of Hill 346, MacIsaac's squad was pinned down by intense weapon fire. In the true spirit of heroism, he stood up and exposed himself to the Chinese bullets multiple times, encouraging his men to move forward and take the hill. He spotted targets for them and called on each one to continue the assault. It was while he stood tall in the face of the enemy that a bullet found its mark and mortally wounded the young man from Woburn. For his actions on October 9th, he earned the Silver Star Medal.



  • Korean War Casualty File, 2/13/1950 - 12/31/1953, 1950,

  • Appleman, Roy E. South to the Naktong: North to the Yalu: June-November 1950. Office of the Chief of Military History Dept. of the Army, 1961.

  • The First Team: The First Cavalry Division in Korea, 18 July 1950-18 January 1952. Turner Pub. Co., 1994.

  • Head Quarters, 1st Cavalry Division, General Orders No. 347 (1951), 1951

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